The Role of Scientists in Political Advocacy
Advocacy refers to the political activity by persons in influential positions or professions aimed at regulating policymaking. The advocacy role is aimed at determining the political, economical as well as the social system performance through decisive processes. Environmental scientists also might take a part in the political advocacy through debates, campaigns, commissioning, and research to improve the proposed policy solutions. The scientists question the way policies are applied in the current administration, participate in agenda formulation and open public discussions (Alm 299-310). Environmental politics have a primary concern to address social issues through modernized and structured policies. Politics and science often refute each other. The political system involves the aspect of exerting pressure on behalf of someone’s interests, while science concerns the policy element in solving systematic problems. In this note, sociological explores have noted that scientists have a role in the management of social conflicts.
Additionally, the involvement of scientists in advocacy roles better and improve their reputation in the public view. This is because proposed policies are more effective to avoid corrupt objectives. Scientists usually bridge the gap between their world and the policymakers, which is difficult due to conflicting purposes. The advocacy process with environmental scientists enhances values in leadership through credible and convincing role-play such as in peer reviews. The authors in favor of advocacy argue that scientists should get involved in more than simply exploring and communicating outcomes in scientific venues. Therefore, the society benefits from effective support, development, and appraisal of policy perspectives. Scientific judgment boosts the political process by resolving scientific problems consistently and effeciently. However, it is argued that scientists ought to avoid politics in order to efficiently fulfill their obligations (Nelson and Vucetich 1090-1101). This includes avoiding formulating policies that might corrupt objective science.
Moreover, scholars have argued that the credibility, performance and the nature of science is incoherent to political advocacy. During scientific operations, time is always a limiting factor to engage in advocacy programs and as such posing a subjective threat. The moral obligation to scientists’ advocacy is uncertain, as politics has matured over years and thereby competently assume its own course (Alm 299-310). Scientists have an obligation to serve a society credibly without getting involved in the political process. Reducing the risk to scientific credibility is service to the society since it promotes independence. Advocacy to a great extent disputes with science, as the latter aims at drawing conclusions in a most certain manner than would be in the political order. Thus, moderating scientists’ involvement in political advocacy averts social dishonesty and depravity. Additionally, scientists have a moral obligation to avoid infringing the scientific operations and uphold credibility. Political interference to the scientific procedure threatens the society’s resources along with policy environment.
Although scientists have a duty to advocate on behalf of the public, they should apply the best of their skills in a fair and transparent manner (Nelson and Vucetich 1090-1101). Even when this is the case, it is clear that staying away from political advocacy has more insights on enhancing social value. The argument against political advocacy is more persuasive compared to involvement in the policymaking process. This is because science has a greater interest to enhance impartial decisions to solve social issues with no political prejudice or else ignorance. Thus, scientists have a role in promoting decisions through conclusive results, but without contravening the role of political systems.
Alm, Leslie. “Science and policy: the view from the world of scientists.” Journal of Environmental Systems 29.4 (2003): 299-310.
Nelson, Michael P., and John Vucetich. “On advocacy by environmental scientists: what, whether, why, and how.” Conservation Biology 23.5 (2009): 1090-1101.